Ever noticed how things can sometimes go missing at work? New research from Avery UK has revealed that the ‘workplace thief’ is most likely to be a middle ranking member of staff or even the boss, while trainees, temporary staff and junior employees were the least likely to be light-fingered with company property.

The study was commissioned by Avery UK in aid of Hands Off Week (15th – 19th September), a national awareness campaign encouraging organisations around the country to protect their possessions and safeguard company property. The survey of 2,000 UK workers found that more than one in ten businesses say important tools of the trade go missing, get lost or stolen on a weekly or monthly basis.

Small specialist tools and stationery were the most common items to be reported missing, with almost 65% of UK workers saying items had been taken directly from their desk or workstation.  A further 38% of workers often fell victim to lunchtime theft too with food from the work fridge or kitchen and even their lunch box being taken.

The Hands Off Week research also uncovered plenty of more unusual items missing, with one in ten employees stating that they’d noticed the disappearance of odd items from the workplace. Among the stranger items reported missing were inflatable animals, a garden gnome, a dressing gown, hi-vis clothing, scales, spoons and even an old x-ray machine.

They study also revealed the average cost to companies, with losses in the last year averaging £1,334.85. Despite this over a quarter of respondents said their company wasn’t taking any special precautions such as labelling, locking or hiding company property. Although 2 out of 5 respondents did feel that labelling valuables could act as an effective deterrent.

Fiona Mills, Marketing Director at Avery UK commented. “As well as looking at the wide range of items to go missing at work we also wanted to explore the impacts of this. Our research found that almost three quarters of respondents said that losing key items from the workplace would affect their ability to work. Yet just a few simple security solutions like labelling company property or displaying effective signage could help make all the difference. That’s where Hands Off Week comes in, to help both businesses and their staff protect their possessions, deter theft and improve the chances of their lost property being rightfully returned.”

Taking place 15th – 19th September 2014 Hands Off Week is encouraging people to take simple steps to ensure the safety and security of their possessions at home and work. Whether it’s deterring theft with signage or applying specialist labels from the Avery Protection & Security range to company property – Hands Off Week will offer plenty of practical tips, advice and guidance. There will also be chances to win all sorts of prizes from the Avery Lost Property Box. The box is bursting with mystery items to be won, check out the Avery UK Facebook and Twitter channels to enter.

To take part in Hands Off Week, try your luck with the Avery Lost Property Box or find out about the great range of Protection & Security products available from Avery visit www.handsoffweek.co.uk.